Robert J. Mulligan, 90; Veteran, Contractor, Village Native Son


‘RJ’ Mulligan, 90; Veteran,

Contractor, Village Native Son

Robert “RJ” Mulligan

COOPERSTOWN – Robert Joseph Mulligan, 90, a retired contractor and Cooperstown Native Son, passed away Aug. 12, 2017.

RJ was born May 23, 1927, on the family farm in the Town of Warren, the fifth of six children to Hugh “Doad” and Mary Dunne Mulligan.  RJ graduated from Richfield Springs Central School.

He married Mary Faith St. John on Dec. 11, 1948, and then joined the Army, where he was stationed in Wisconsin, Japan and Germany.  Upon returning from Germany with Mary, they settled in Cooperstown and started their family and first business, Cooperstown Disposal.

In 1971, he and Mary decided to sell the disposal company and start a new venture in general contracting.  He took the summer off and traveled cross country, visiting 20 states, Mexico and Canada.

Upon returning, RJ’s new business thrived.  Digging ditches was right up his alley.  RJ Mulligan General Contractor sponsored many Little League teams over the years.  He and Mary loved attending their kids sporting events.

RJ loved hunting pheasants and having his dogs around. He liked to be outdoors camping and playing golf. He was always a farmer at heart and having horses made it easy for him to continue baling hay and riding his tractor.

He and Mary entertained or were entertained most Saturday nights.  Their favorite haunts were the Sportsman’s Tavern, The Hickory Grove and the Red Sleigh.

After Mary died on June 7, 1992, RJ met and fell in love with Helen Winne, whom he married on Oct. 25, 1997.  They were devoted to each other and spent many happy years dancing, golfing and traveling. They continued the Saturday night tradition by frequenting The Hawkeye Grill and many other places. They had just celebrated RJ’s 90th birthday and were looking forward to celebrating their 20th anniversary.

RJ was an usher at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church for many years. He was member of the Cooperstown VFW, Native Sons of Cooperstown, a longtime member of the Cooperstown Sportsman’s Association and a past member of the Cooperstown Sports Booster Club.

He is survived by his widow, Helen; sons Michael and wife Suzy, of Herndon, Va., Shawn and wife Susan,  Rob Mulligan of Cooperstown, and Bob Winne and wife Roz of North Andover, Mass., and daughters Kit Mulligan Byrd and husband Michael of Lampasas, Texas, Kay Pierro and husband Bob of Fly Creek, and Carol Butts and husband Tom of Hartwick.  Also son-in-law Joe Hilleary of Alexandria, Va., and daughters-in-law Joan Kane, Diana Mulligan and Robin Aufmuth.

His grandchildren include Lindsey Mandel, Westley Mulligan, Doug Hilleary, Daniel Mulligan, Ali Mulligan, Jordan Davis, Robert Bryd, Michael Byrd, Jr. Lauren Cronin, Sophie McManus, Genevieve McManus, Adam Hurtubise, Kim Donaldson, Josh Pierro, Tricia Rowley, Michael Chase, John Butts, Lisa Grampp, Tom Winne, Matt Winne, Kara Massey and Lindsey Keeney.

He is also survived by numerous great-grandchildren, sisters and brothers in law, nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of friends that he would call family.

RJ was predeceased by his parents and his siblings, Marion, Florence, William, Irene and Loretta, his first wife Mary, daughter Maureen, and several brothers and sisters in law.

Calling hours will be 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, at Tillapaugh Funeral Home, 28 Pioneer Street, Cooperstown.   The Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 1, at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church,  Elm Street, Cooperstown,,  with Father John P. Rosson,  pastor, officiant.  Committal will follow at the family plot in Lakewood Cemetery on East Lake Road.   Friends and family are welcome to gather at The Mulligan House, 658 County Highway 59, following the burial service.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests, for those who so desire, that donations in his memory be made to Fly Creek First Responders, PO Box 218, Fly Creek, NY  13337 or Friends Helping Friends for which envelopes will be available at the funeral home.

Arrangements are under the guidance of Tillapaugh Funeral Service, Cooperstown,


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